Film & Beyond | The Next Twenty Years

As the Visual Effects Society celebrates and honors its Twentieth Anniversary, The Bay Area Chapter is taking the opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going in the NEXT TWENTY YEARS!

From it’s roots in hand made, traditional visual effects craftmanship, through expansion into digital tools and technologies, feature-length animation, cinematic video game content…  the Bay Area’s digital arts community continues, year after year, to be a leader in the modes through which VFX can affect the world.

Blockbuster Movies.  Science.  Education.  Theme Parks.  Virtual and Augmented Reality.  We want to engage in a joyous reflection on our history, and to dream where we can go next.

As such, the VES Bay Area Board of Directors invites local and global experts from the fields of Animation, Broadcast & Film, VFX, Video Games and Technology to gather for this 2nd Annual Bay Area Summit. 

The event will include approximately ten Roundtable Topics to encourage discussion and interaction.  These discussions will include accomplished local and international industry contributors -- directors, producers, art directors, cinematographers, editors, post production supervisors, visual effects practitioners and executives -- dedicated to both their own industry, and to the health of the production community at large.

Come join this amazing event with us and be a part of the conversation as we look to the past, the present and the Next Twenty Years. 

Roundtable Topics & Moderators

Filming for VR
Moderator: Ariel Braunstein, 
Hallelujah VR Music Experience

Discussion Topic:  Lytro has built the first ever production-ready Light Field video solution for Virtual Reality - Lytro Immerge.  This breakthrough system was recently used to produce Hallelujah, the first ever Light Field VR music experience produced with Within.  At this roundtable we’ll discuss the process/workflow of producing content with Lytro Immerge more

VR and AR - Near-term Opportunities and Long-term Directions
Moderator: Carl Rosendahl, Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center

Discussion Topic:  At the roundtable we'll discuss where VR and AR could be headed in the next 10 years, and where some of the immediate opportunities are. Examples from projects at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center will be available, and participants are encouraged to bring in other examples. more

Merging Realms: Art, Science, and Social Awareness 
Moderator: Drue Kataoka, Technology Artist

Discussion Topic: At this roundtable we'll discuss current Virtual Reality tools for artists and creators.  Participants are welcome to bring examples of their VR artwork or experiments in this space. What are some cool ways that VR can be blended with other traditional art forms?  How can some of these VR art tools be more

The Future of Machine Learning in Entertainment
Moderator: Kamal Mistry, Netflix

Discussion Topic:  “Machine Learning and Computer Vision algorithms are seeing greater adoption in Media & Entertainment. Researchers are developing automatic Green Screen and Wire Removal algorithms, Tagging algorithms to mark videos to identify and classify content e.g. object, face, nudity detection. Where is this heading? Can we use AI, ML and more

Physical sets, RAPTURE Gear, and Social Experience
Moderator: Cliff Plumer, The Void 

Discussion Topic:  We have yet to see true mass-consumer adoption of VR. In-home and mobile equipment is expensive and the experiences, while visually compelling, are isolating and limit movement. Destination-based experiences like the ones being created at THE VOID, on the other hand, are setting the stage for VR to become a much more social and engaging experience more

Modern VFX Production in the Cloud
Moderator: Kevin Baillie, Atomic Fiction

Discussion Topic:  "Deadpool, The Jungle Book and Pirates of the Caribbean are all poster children of the biggest leap forward for VFX & Animation in decades: cloud computing. Allowing infrastructure to change in scale and makeup with each passing second is having a profound impact on how productions and businesses are run. Is it possible to evaluate the cloud’ more



THE BAY LIGHTS: Villareal Studio | Public Artworks
Moderator: Amy CritchettThe Bay Lights' Villareal Studio | Public Artworks

Discussion Topic:  In leading the development and management of Leo Villareal’s largest artwork to date THE BAY LIGHTS, Amy built community, grew international awareness and assembled a world-class team to fund, permit and produce this complex and highly creative now permanent work of public art. Other International installations are underway. Visual Effects is what visual artists more

Achieving Photoreal Digital Actors in Movies, Games, and Virtual Reality
Moderator: Paul Debevec, Google VR

Discussion Topic:  In less than a decade, the ability to render a photorealistic animated human face has gone from being an unfathomable challenge to an enabling technology in feature films from Benjamin Button to Rogue One.  What will it take to bring this same level of realism to games and virtual reality?  And how can we make the process less expensive and more reliable?  In the more

Storytelling in VR
Moderators: Annmarie Koenig and Bruna Berford, Penrose Studios 

Discussion Topic:  More and more people are using the capabilities of VR to let the viewer experiment with something new. However, films and VFX companies may see this as an opportunity to expand the experience of their existing titles, but how exactly do you create content “made for VR”? How do you transition from flat movies to VR? How do you engage your viewer in your experience? more

Bruna Berford, Penrose Studios 

Bruna Berford is a VR Lead Animator working for Penrose Studios, a startup based in San Francisco. At Penrose, Bruna is the Animation Supervisor for Arden’s Wake (2017 Tribeca Film Festival), the company’s third project that continues the elegant evolution of storytelling for Virtual Reality. She also helped bring to life the beautiful and unique Allumette, a VR film that Premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Before joining Penrose, Bruna worked as an more

Interactive Characters in AR/VR
Moderator: Tom Sanocki, Interactive Characters in AR/VR 

Discussion Topic:  After decades of promise, virtual reality is finally here. Storytellers are gravitating to this new medium with its promise of immersion, interaction, and emotional connection. How does storytelling change when VR characters respond to what the viewer does and says? How much of this can we do today, and what can we look forward to in the future? more

Crossover from Live Action VFX Films to AR/VR/Multi-Media 
Moderator: Wayne Billheimer, ILM Executive Producer

Discussion Topic: The VFX World is the perfect training ground for the new (and not-so-new) kinds of screens and experiences people are craving: VR/AR/XR/Multi-Media/etc.  This roundtable will explore where and how those crossover skills are, can, and should be applied in a world that has evolved from "a over b" compositing to include real-time-interactive-360-immersive-branching more

Telling Stories using Virtual Light, the Beauty & Challenges 
Moderator: Danielle Feinberg Director of Photography, Pixar 

Discussion Topic:  As a Director of Photography, working in the computer gives us so many options that the real world doesn't have, but this power can be a great boon and sometimes a bust...sometimes in the moment, one doesn't know which it is. Intersecting with Camera, Production Design, Animation, etc. is vital.  We will talk about various experiences using virtual light to tell more


Additional Topics & Moderators COMING SOON! Check back for updates

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